Mobility and transport in Geneva, Switzerland

The State of Geneva is the competent authority to manage and organize traffic, the hierarchy of the road network, the assignment of streets and road markings. The City of Geneva refers to the canton’s framework documents to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants and guarantee an active economic life. The City of Geneva promotes the development of more sustainable mobility and protects residents from nuisance caused by traffic.

Public transport by bus, trolleybus or tram is provided by Transports Publics Genevois. In addition to an extensive coverage of the city centre, the network extends to most of the municipalities of the Canton, with a few lines reaching into France. Public transport by boat is provided by the Mouettes Genevoises, which link the two banks of the lake within the city, and by the Compagnie Générale de Navigation sur le lac Léman which serves more distant destinations such as Nyon, Yvoire, Thonon, Évian, Lausanne and Montreux using both modern diesel vessels and vintage paddle steamers.

Trains operated by Swiss Federal Railways connect the airport to the main station of Cornavin in six minutes. Regional train services are being developed towards Coppet and Bellegarde. At the city limits two new railway stations have been opened since 2002: Genève-Sécheron (close to the UN and the Botanical Gardens) and Lancy-Pont-Rouge.

The City of Geneva is developing development projects that meet the needs of residents as well as those related to trade, employment and leisure activities. Inhabitants, visitors and economic actors must be able to move around and organize their logistics in the best possible way. The City of Geneva guarantees access to homes for motorized vehicles, in particular by managing “resident and professional” car parks. The City of Geneva is setting up traffic systems and regimes and building public space in such a way as to reconcile these needs while reducing road noise, pollution and accidents.

The City of Geneva also carries out planning and traffic studies which it submits to the State of Geneva to: carry out zones at limited speed; continue to set up the cycling network; support and support the development of public transport; enhance the role and place of the pedestrian in public space by making it accessible to all.

The impact of motorized traffic on the environment is heavy. There are many alternatives to the private car: cycling, walking, rollerblading, scooters, skateboards as well as carpooling, car-sharing or even public transport are less polluting and more economical modes of transport. To encourage people to adopt more sustainable modes of transport.

Air transport
Geneva International Airport (GVA), in Cointrin, is located four kilometers from the city center and is accessible by bus (lines 5 and 10 TPG) or by train (Genève-Aéroport station). Large companies such as EasyJet, British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, Swiss, United, Etihad Airways, Emirates, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways and EgyptAir offer routes to all of Europe and the rest of the world. The airport is positioned in the immediate vicinity of theborder between France and Switzerland, which made it possible to build a customs road directly linking the airport terminal to French territory, thus preventing border residents from going through Swiss customs.

The city is served by the Geneva Cointrin International Airport. It is connected by Geneva Airport railway station (French: Gare de Genève-Aéroport) to both the Swiss Federal Railways network and the French SNCF network, including links to Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Montpellier by TGV. Geneva is connected to the motorway systems of both Switzerland (A1 motorway) and France.

Rail transport
The city is served by the Swiss (CFF) and French (SNCF) rail networks. The direct IC and IR connections allow commuting to all of Switzerland. Direct TGV links connect to Paris, Lyon and Marseille, formerly also to Barcelona (Spain) and Nice (France). The Cornavin train station is the starting point of TER direct for the region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, to Bourg-en-Bresse, Lyon Part-Dieu, Chambéry, Grenoble and Valence. For France, some Léman Express trains leave from Genève-Eaux-Vives station in the direction of Annemasse, Évian-les-Bains, Annecy or Saint-Gervais-les-Bains-Le Fayet.

Regional trains (RE) of CFF also run between Annemasse and Coppet / Lausanne / Vevey / St-Maurice and the RER (Rhône regional express) connects it to Bellegarde. Theregional express network (Léman Express project) was completed in December 2019 by the completion of CEVA (Cornavin – Eaux-Vives – Annemasse) which had been planned since 1884. Six RER lines serving the cantons of Geneva, Vaud as well as the French departments de l’Ain and Haute-Savoie are now in service, all stopping at Geneva-Cornavin station. Thanks to the Swiss network connectionwith the Haut-Savoyard network (via a long tunnel under part of the city), trains can travel to the cross-border region all around Geneva and, thanks to new stations, serve densely populated areas of the canton of Geneva.

Public transport
An important network of buses, trams, trains or boats allow the public to travel throughout the territory. The City of Geneva actively participates in the development of public transport so that it best meets the needs of residents.

Within the city, the Geneva Public Transport (TPG) operates a dense network of buses and trolleybuses as well as a reviving tram network. This network is cross-border since it also serves part of Ain and Haute-Savoie (TPG France). A boat service is also provided by the Geneva Seagulls, linking the two shores of the harbor. Primarily used for tourism, their current development allows them to increasingly play a real role in urban transport. For these purposes, the Unireso tariff community was created., an association grouping together TPG, CFF, Mouettes genevoises, TAC (Haute-Savoie), TPN (canton of Vaud) and SNCF. This association allows the development and collaboration between these companies in order to expand and improve the public transport system of Greater Geneva.

Léman Express – CEVA
From December 15, 2019, the Léman Express runs on the new CEVA line (Cornavin – Eaux-Vives – Annemasse line) which connects 45 stations over 230 km. UNIRESO tickets and subscriptions are valid, except to / from Belgarde.

The regional express network (RER) serves peripheral municipalities, especially on the right bank, from Versoix to la Plaine with a unireso “Tout Genève” transport ticket.

CFF lines
Outside the regional network, the train is a quick way to travel between Geneva and other Swiss cities. The City of Geneva provides its residents with reduced rate CFF day passes.

Buses and trams
A large number of bus and tram lines managed by Geneva Public Transport (TPG) allow users to travel throughout the territory.

Friday and Saturday evening, the service Noctambus runs from downtown to outlying areas from midnight to 5am.

People with disabilities
The TPG are implementing measures to facilitate access to buses and trams for people with disabilities. All lines are accessible to people with reduced mobility and in wheelchairs. The presence of a pictogram on the information terminals indicates whether the vehicles are suitable or not. TPG, together with Fireplace Handicap, also have a companion service “Mobility for all”. The blind and visually impaired can obtain a card authorizing them to travel freely and for free on the entire local public transport network. This legitimation card can be obtained from the Foundation for the benefit of the blind.

Seagulls and cruise ships
The Geneva Seagulls are lake shuttles, integrated into the TPG network (accessible with a unireso transport ticket), which provide connections from one side of the harbor to the other. The Compagnie générale de navigation sur le lac Léman (CGN) offers cruises all over the lake. The City of Geneva provides its residents with reduced rate CGN day passes.

Road transport
Geneva is linked to the Swiss motorway network by the A1 and French by the A40 and A41 motorways, the latter extending the A1 on the French side.

Cars and motorcycles
Inhabitants, visitors and economic actors must be able to move around and organize their logistics in the best possible way. The City of Geneva guarantees access to homes for motor vehicles, manages “resident and professional” car parks and requests delivery boxes for businesses. In Geneva, motorized modes of transport benefit from a very well-developed road network and accessibility throughout the municipality. Only areas reserved for pedestrians are prohibited.

In Geneva, it is possible to order a taxi in several ways: calling out in the street; by contacting a taxi company (phone, mobile application or website); by going to one of the 60 parking lots in town, at the airport and at train stations. Consult the list of taxi companies on the Geneva Yellow Pages.

Carpooling and carsharing
The impact of motorized traffic on the environment is heavy. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to the private car: cycling, walking, carpooling, car-sharing or even public transport are less polluting and more economical modes of transport.

Cycling network
The popular initiative of June 4, 1989 called for the creation of a network of cycle paths. Accepted by 82% of voters, this exceptional result shows the interest that cycling arouses among the population of Geneva. Since then, the City of Geneva has worked tirelessly on this development. To date, cyclist traffic has increased considerably and constitutes an alternative to the saturated road network.

The City of Geneva encourages cycling. Its cycling policy focuses on extending the network and ensuring the safety of cyclists. It proposes projects for the development of roads and public spaces that facilitate and secure cycle journeys. These projects are submitted to the canton (General Directorate of Mobility) which is the competent authority to make changes to the road network. The City of Geneva cycling network covers more than 59% of the 220 km of municipal roads: 9% in cycle paths; 20% in cycle lanes; 9% mixed with pedestrians; 4% shared with bus lanes; 58% without specific development in streets with moderate traffic (shopping streets, 20 and 30 km / h zones).

To promote the use of bicycles, it supports the Genèveroule association which makes bicycles available to the public free of charge during the summer months. It also supports the association Pro Vélo Geneva which organizes the event Saturday bike and gives cyclist driving courses. All these actions aim to facilitate access to a bicycle, to make known suitable routes and to allow new cyclists to feel more comfortable in traffic by a better knowledge of their rights and duties.

The Cornavin is also the start of the national cycling route number 1 called “Rhone route” that leads to Andermatt.

Walking is a healthy and efficient way to get around on a neighborhood scale. The City of Geneva is developing a safe, continuous and barrier-free pedestrian network so that children and seniors can move around as independently as possible. The City of Geneva is developing public spaces to encourage walking and create spaces for relaxation and strolling in the neighborhoods and in the center. It secures school routes and the surroundings of reception centers for the elderly. It reduces the obstacles that hinder or dissuade people with reduced mobility from moving around in public spaces.

Walking is a fast and efficient way to get around. In Geneva, most tourist sites and activities can be reached in less than 15 minutes on foot from the center. The “Geneva, a city on the move” map, downloadable below, gives indicative travel times between the different districts. On the other hand, 10 walking routes invite residents and visitors to discover the riches of its built, plant and historical heritage.

People who move on foot are not only considered as able-bodied people, in full possession of all their senses. Practical life shows that they are often loaded, accompanied by young children, strollers, in wheelchairs or that they move with crutches or walkers. The public space must be adapted accordingly and facilitate the progress of all these people. To help the latter, the City of Geneva is making arrangements for people with reduced mobility. For example, it lowers sidewalks, raises bus and tram stops, and does away with steps where possible. It sets up guidance devices and tactile awakening bands for blind and visually impaired people.